Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Please forgive one another.

Please look at the speech that was read yesterday at retirement by the Pope.
Regardless of religion, see how Pope Francis has beautifully written about the family.


©  There is no perfect family.
©  We do not have perfect parents,
- we are not perfect,
We do not marry a perfect person or we do not have perfect children.
©  We have complaints from each other.
©  We are constantly disappointed.
©  There is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness.
©  Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a fortress of evil.
©  Without forgiveness, the family becomes sick.
©  Forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul, the purification of the spirit and the liberation of the heart.
He who does not forgive does not have peace in his soul or communion with God.
©  Evil is a poison that intoxicates and kills.
©  Keeping heartache in your heart is a self-destructive gesture. It's autophagy.
©  Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill.
For this reason, the family must be a place of life and not a place of death;
a place of paradise and not a place of hell;
A healing territory and not a disease;
an internship of forgiveness and not guilt.
Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has brought sadness;
Healing where sorrow has caused the disease.

¤ Pope Francisco

Please send to all the families you know. This could help extinguish some family battles!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sin enslaves.

"Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." (John 8: 34).

Sin enslaves.  Sin is addictive behavior. This is what makes the sinner a slave to his sin.  Here are examples of addictive behaviors:  pornography, alcoholism, anger, etc. This is what the Church teaches in this regard:
"Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root. (CCC 1865).

The price of freedom is fully paid by Jesus Christ.  "So if the son frees you, then you will truly be free."  (John 8: 36).  Only the disciples of Jesus Christ can  truly be free. How?
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8: 31 - 32).

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
"Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance."  (Luke 8: 15).

Monday, March 19, 2018

We are redeemed by the Cross.

"But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”  (Numbers 21 : 4-5 RM)

No matter your frustration or anger, remember this one thing: Thou shalt not complain or criticize the Lord your God.

In punishment for sinning with their tongue, "the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died."  (Numbers 21:  6). The punishment worked.   “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray to the Lord to take the serpents from us.”  (Numbers 21 : 7).

The Lord instructed Moses:  "Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover."  (Numbers 21: 8)

A long time after the incident in the desert, Jesus teaches the true meaning of what happened in the desert:
"And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”  (John 3: 14 - 15).

On Day 35 of Lent 2018, we realize that soon Jesus must be lifted up on the cross. What does the cross mean to you? Pope Benedict XVI writes:  "Man is redeemed by the cross." And in another place, he continues:  "Rejection of the cross is rejection of Jesus Christ."

"Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!  The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;  all who come to Him will live forever." (Gospel acclamation, Tuesday 5th Week of Lent 2018).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Feast of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1: 20 - 21).

Today is the Solemnity of St Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This is a feast day in Lent. Who is St Joseph and why does he matter in salvation history?

Church tradition has attributed to St Joseph the following attributes:
+ Patron of the Church.
+ Patron of a happy death (CCC 1014).
+ Patron of workers.
+ Foster father of Jesus.
+ Great man of faith.

"Behold a faithful and prudent steward, whom the Lord set over his household." (Cf Luke 12: 42).

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph’s intercession
your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."  (Collect on the feast of St Joseph).

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Be afraid of rejecting your cross.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."  (John 12: 24).

Every farmer understands that new life comes out of the old.  But the old must die to give way to the new.

"And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  (John 12: 32).

Jesus Christ died on the cross making it a source of new life.

"It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world."  (John 16: 21).

The joy of bringing a new life physical or spiritual into the world is unbelievable.

So, do not be afraid of the process. Be afraid of rejecting the cross.

St Francis de Sales writes: "The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity, the cross He now presents to you from His innermost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it is not one ounce too heavy for you."

Your cross is tailor made for you.

Friday, March 16, 2018

I am a trusting lamb led to the slaughter.

"Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me:
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
 let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.”  (Jeremiah 11:  19).

As we approach Good Friday, the plot against Jesus thickens as seen here through the experience of Prophet Jeremiah.  Where are you in this unfolding drama? You will be either for Jesus or against Jesus.

"O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me."  (Psalm 7: 2 - 3).

"Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance."  (Cf Luke 8: 15).

Thursday, March 15, 2018

On which side are you? For truth or Against truth?

"At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?"  (John 7: 25).

Yes indeed, it is He.  Jesus the Christ.

"Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

"These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, And they did not know the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense for holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward."  (Wisdom 2: 20 - 22).

Do you know one of the great distinguishing marks of Christianity? Detailed prophecies on the birth, life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God?
For those on the side of truth, there are more than sufficient evidence. For those who hate the truth, no evidence will be sufficient.  (Cf John 18: 37).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I was born for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth.

 "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”  (John 18: 37 ESV).

Jesus who was born to bear witness to the truth humbled and subjected Himself to the Mosaic principle of acceptable testimony.

“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified."  (John 5: 31).

Jesus gives four witnesses that testify He came from God:

#1.  The witness of John the Baptist (John 5: 33).  The people know that John the Baptist is a credible witness.
#2.  The works of Jesus:  Jesus fulfilled all the messianic signs for the Messiah by the Prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 42: 7).
The works of Jesus continue today in the works of missionaries and the Church.
#3.  The testimony of the Father:
"And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."  (Matthew 3: 17).
"A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." (Luke 9: 35)
#4.  The evidence of the Scriptures. (John 5: 39).

Do you believe in Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God?
For those who are well disposed, there are more than sufficient evidence. For those who are not of the truth, no evidence will be sufficient.  (Cf John 8: 37).

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Grant me O Lord a time of favor.

"I pray to you, O Lord, for a time of your favor.
In your great mercy, answer me, O God, with your salvation that never fails."  (Isaiah 69: 14).

Why is Lent such a blessed time to receive favors from God?
Consider the following:
+Jesus went into water for Baptism and sanctified water and made it holy for Baptism.  (Matthew 3: 16).
+ At the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus made marriage between one man and one woman a holy Sacrament and an institution. (John 2: 1-12).
+ Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert and defeated the devil 3 times.  (Matthew 4: 1 - 11).  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the early Church understood the significance of the event and instituted the discipline of Lent.
I received most of the blessings in my life during Lent.

"Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you; and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land and allot the desolate heritages."  (Isaiah 49: 8).

Faith is accepting the word of God as true.  Then act according to the the word you believe.

" The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.

The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down."  (Psalm 145: 8 - 9, 13 - 14).

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Stronghold is the God of Jacob.

The Lord of hosts is with me; my stronghold is the God of Jacob.

God is my refuge and my strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore I fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.

The Lord of hosts is with me; my stronghold is the God of Jacob.

There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed; God will help it at the break of dawn.

The Lord of hosts is with me; my stronghold is the God of Jacob.
(Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The official took Jesus at His word and departed.

"The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed."  (John 4: 49 - 50).

Are you scratching your head trying to understand what faith really is? Above in my opinion is a good example of faith-in-action.  Oh that I will always act according to this model! On top of this, the senior official received the gift of understanding that helps him  perceive how God acts.

On Day 27  of Lent 2018, the word of God encourages us to be humble and pray:  "Lord, increase our faith." (Luke 17: 5).

"You changed my mourning into dancing. You took off my funeral clothes and dressed me up in joy so that my whole being might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever."  (Psalm 30: 11 - 12).

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Why is this man born blind?

"As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."  (John 9: 1 - 3).

Many adverse human conditions are not associated with sin.  Of the poor, sick, homeless, refugees, lonesome, Jesus says:  "It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."  (John 9: 3).

St Francis of Assisi said:  "Alms are an inheritance and a justice which is due to the poor and which Jesus has levied upon us."

"Wealth … is like a snake; it will twist around the hand and bite unless one knows how to use it properly."  (St Clement of Alexandria.“).

"The rich man who gives to the poor does not bestow alms but pays a debt."  ( St. Ambrose of Milan).

"Our prayers and fastings are of less avail, unless they are aided by almsgiving."  (St Cyprian).

On Day 26 of Lent 2018, where are you on almsgiving?

Friday, March 09, 2018

Humility is the foundation of Prayer.

"The tax collector stood at a distance, beating his breast and saying:
O God, be merciful to me, a sinner."  (Luke 18: 13).

The tax collector went home justified before God.  But the Pharisee was condemned because of his righteous posture.

Mother Church has something to say on Prayer:
 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer.  Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."  (CCC 2559).

"Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him."  (CCC 2560).

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Behold now is a very acceptable time.

"Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD; Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.  Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.”  (Hosea 14: 2 - 4).

Lent is the best and most fruitful time for Reconciliation with God. Don't take my word for it.  Listen rather to the word of God:

“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

Now listen to holy Mother Church:
"The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
- reconciliation with the Church;
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
- an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle."  (CCC 1496).

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions."  (Psalm 51: 3).

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Come let us kneel before the Lord who made us.

"Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.  (Jeremiah 7:  23).

Like a mother pleading with her teenage daughter to move back home, Abba Father has been pleading with us since the beginning of Lent to heed His words and come home to a place of peace, joy, abundance, prosperity and security.

On Day 23 of Lent 2018, is it time to respond or not? Let us use Psalm 95 and say Yes to Abba Father who is full of love and faithfulness.

"Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him."

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

"Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides."

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

"Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.”

Respond today.  No fear. No worry. No doubt. No procrastination.

"Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart.
for I am gracious and merciful." (Joel 2:  12 - 13).

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Those who share the word of God will have unbelievable reward.

"See, I am teaching you the statutes and ordinances as the Lord, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to possess."  (Deuteronomy 4: 5).

Obedience to the Law of God is evidence of your "wisdom and intelligence."  (Deuteronomy 4: 6)
In these times, presidents, senators, governors, priests, soldiers, etc have been caught breaking the Law.  Some of them are still in jail.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."   (Matthew 5: 19).

Every disciple of Jesus must be a teacher of the word of God. Mothers and fathers must teach it at home.  Others will teach it in offices, malls, gas stations, street corners, everywhere.

"Where there is no Law, the people perish."  (Cf Hosea 4: 6).

+ Teach the word of God.
+  Believe what you teach.
+  Practice what you believe.

Monday, March 05, 2018

I forgave you everything because you begged Me.

"I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to." (Matthew 18:  32).

"Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’  Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan."  (Matthew 18: 26 - 27).

This servant certainly knew how to beg for relief. He knelt down and asked his Lord.  He knew something else for which we commend him.  He knew his master was compassionate and kindly.  How much do we know the Heart of Jesus?  The Sacred Heart waiting for us to come and to shower us with His forgiveness and love.

"Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan." (Matthew 18: 27).

The master forgave him everything.  Not 50%. Not 90%.  But everything.

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.  Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).

Do not miss this: "I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to." Asking for forgiveness is very important.

Look! This unforgiving servant is me and you. Consider how much God has forgiven us throughout our lives.  Not 77 times. But each and every time we approach Him with a repentant heart.

Remember the ABC of Mercy? 
A.  Ask for Mercy. 
B.  Be Merciful. 
C.  Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Do this and you will never have to fear this:
"So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”  (Matthew 18: 35).

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Why does Jesus heal some and not others?

"Elisha sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”  But Naaman went away angry."  (2 Kings 5: 10 - 11).

Then Naaman was persuaded to obey the Prophet Elisha.  "His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." (2 Kings 5: 14).

What is going on here? The 5-star Syrian General was healed of leprosy by God when many lepers in Israel were not healed.

"Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  (Luke 4: 26).

How does the Almighty distribute His healing gifts?  I saw after a long time a dear lady in my parish today who by the accounts of many expert doctors should have been dead over a year ago.  Her body is filled with cancer.  I told her that we miss her in our RCIA ministry.  She surprised me by what she said:  "Pray that the Lord heals me and I will come back to the ministry."  That was a big challenge. I am a beggar who tells another beggar where to find bread.

This afternoon, I wrestled with Jesus over the woman's request.  "Why Lord don't You heal many of the sick in our community?These are people who love You and would love to spend their lives serving You.  Imagine the joy, laughter and dancing that will happen every Sunday when we gather for worship."

Brothers and sisters, please join me in praying for Hope.  I call her Hope because of her spirit of hope.  She is a wonderful and great teacher.

"I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word; with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption."  (Cf Psalm 130: 5, 7).

Saturday, March 03, 2018

How awesome is this place. It is the House of God.

“Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”  (John 2: 16).

We see Jesus displaying righteous anger when He witnessed unrighteous activities inside the Temple.  How far are you prepared to go to defend the sacredness of the House of God.  Many people are prepared to show some spirited zeal to defend the honor of their mother.  What would you do if you see someone in your parish drinking beer with a chalice?

Let us remind ourselves what the Bible says about the House of God:

"He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."  (Genesis 28: 17).

"They are to make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.  According to all that I show you regarding the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of its furnishings, so you are to make it." (Exodus 25: 8 - 9).

"Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle."  (Exodus 40: 35).

"And he said to them, “It is written:
"My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.”  (Matthew 21: 13).

Jesus has left us an example of how to honor the House of God.  Watch out for an opportunity to do the same.

Friday, March 02, 2018

I have sinned.

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”  (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

On Saturday, March 3rd, Day 18 of Lent 2018, the Scriptures invite us to know the most merciful Heart of God the Father and to come to Him with confidence to ask for mercy.

"Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy,
And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our iniquities? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins."  (Micah 7: 18 - 19).

God will show us wonderful signs of His love and mercy during Lent 2018.

What is our response?

"Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion."  (Psalm 103: 1 - 3).

Glory to You, Word of God, Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

They sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver.

"They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver."  (Genesis 37: 28).

Who do you know that was sold for thirty pieces of silver?  (Matthew 26: 15).

What do you know about Divine Providence?

"Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end." (CCC 322).

"Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to cooperate freely with his PLANS." (CCC 323).

"The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal LIFE."  (CCC 324).

Many years after Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, Joseph confirmed the mysterious and powerful providence of God:

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."  (Genesis 50: 20).

"When the LORD called down a famine on the land and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave."  (Psalm 105: 16 - 17).

"Father in Heaven, the hand of your loving kindness powerfully yet gently guides all the moment of our day. Go before us in a pilgrimage of life, anticipate our needs and prevent our falling.  Send your spirit to unite us in faith that sharing in your service we may rejoice in your presence. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.  Amen."

First Friday in March

First Friday in March, 2018.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 3rd month of the year 2018, we look at Promise #3.

#3.  I will console them in all their troubles.

In Promise #3, Jesus does not promise a trouble free life.  "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16: 33 ).
Troubles are opportunity to trust Jesus more. "I promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place on Me."

Remind the Lord often of these promises.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of March, 2018.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How do you make your leaves stay green?

"This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from  the  Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land."  (Jeremiah 17: 5 - 6)

Where is your security?

The Bible warns us not to put our trust in human beings or in princes or in horses and chariots (tanks, fighter bombers, etc), or bank accounts and investments. (Cf Psalm 118: 8; 146: 3)

On Day 16 of 40 of Lent 2018, the word of God asks us: Who do you trust?

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit."  (Jeremiah 17: 5 - 8 NLT)

Lord direct our hearts to Yourself.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Why should anybody choose to suffer and die for a cause that is a lie?

"The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20: 28).

Today is Wednesday, February 28, Day 15 of 40 in Lent 2018.

Jesus said the above to his disciples in the earshot of the mother of the sons of Zebedee who had just requested the most prestigious positions in Jesus' cabinet for her two boys.  “You do not know what you are asking." Jesus told the lady.  My Kingdom will be very different from that of Herod, Nebuchadnezzar or Augustus Caesar.  There will be a lot of blood, suffering and death in what I am setting up.

You who desire to follow Jesus, do you know what you wish? (Matthew 20: 21).  “You do not know what you are asking."  (Matthew 20: 22).  Do you? Have you counted the cost of discipleship?

The 2016  movie, "Silence" by Martin Scorsese is the story of three young Jesuit missionaries who traveled to Japan from Europe in the 17th century to evangelize the Japanese. They foresaw clearly that they would be martyred.  They eventually made many converts to Christianity.  What impressed me most in the movie is that they did not hide the cost of discipleship to their young Japanese Christian family.  Most of these Christians with the three young missionaries paid the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus.  Their persecutors taunted them with the cruel irony that the only answer to expect from their Jesus was SILENCE!

Who will leave a comfortable life to embrace a missionary life in a far flung foreign country and culture?  If the Promise of Jesus is not true, there will be no missionaries, no Church.

"The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20: 28).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Practice what you teach.

"The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore observe and obey what they teach you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they teach."(Matthew 23: 2-3)

Reading leads to forgetfulness. Practice leads to remembrance. The disciples were to imitate Jesus and teach their new converts to practice the faith. Practice grows faith and leads to experiential knowledge.

"But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5: 19).

Lord, help us to believe Your word; to teach what we believe and to practice what we teach.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Learn a very simple way to forgive.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven."  (Luke 6: 37).

Which is easier for you? Not to judge or condemn? How about  forgiving those who offend you?

It does seem that to forgive an offense is the toughest for most people.  I tumbled into a pure grace of how to forgive and to forgive.

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5: 44).

When I was in the corporate world, I took a secured loan to build a personal home. I had no experience about building.  I found a contractor and gave him 50% of the money.  He dug the foundation, laid a few blocks and disappeared with the money. I was devasted. What do I do? Prosecute him?  Ask friends at Police Headquarters to deal ruthlessly with him?   A tiny voice told me to leave him alone and pray for him.  I took the advice and prayed for him daily until the house was finished 6 months later.

On another occasion, three senior managers in the company I worked for many years conspired against me and had me fired. The same voice asked me to pray for them. I prayed for them by name for about 5 years before the pain was completely gone.  I have used the same tool of prayer again and again and it works.  Once you receive an offense, start immediately to pray for the person. Continue praying for the offender until you feel that you are healed.

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.

“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”  (Genesis 22: 1 -  2).

Abraham did not merit the title, Father of Faith just by being a friend of God.  He underwent in his life one severe test after another. And he passed every one.

"I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”  (Genesis 22: 12).

The Scriptures the Holy Spirit offers us daily during the 40 days of Lent are full of stories of men and women that accomplished prodigious feats through faith.  Biographies and teaching by examples are powerful features of  divine pedagogy.

"In your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”  (Genesis 22:  17).

One man's obedience could be the cause of great blessings to millions.  Abraham is one example.  The Blessed Virgin Mary by her obedience undid the knots tied by Eve's disobedience. (Cf Genesis 3: 15).

In the Transfiguration, God urged us to listen attentively to His Son Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12: 2).
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  (Mark 9:  2 - 10).

The beloved Son then gives us this great lesson:

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6: 33).
This is true!

"God our Father, you bid us listen to your Son, the well-behaved. Nourish our hearts on your word,
purify the eyes of our mind, and fill us with joy at the vision of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

Friday, February 23, 2018

You are God’s treasured possessions.

"And today the LORD is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory above all other nations he has made, and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God, as he promised.”  (Deuteronomy 26: 18 - 19).

Who are we?
+ God's very own people
+ Special treasure
+ God's treasured possessions
+ Holy people

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."  (1 Peter 2: 9).

How do we Christians live up to such high ideals?

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  (Acts 1: 8).

The Holy Spirit is our hope.  Not just in being Christians but in acting as Christians.

"I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.  But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law."  (Galatians 5: 16 - 18).

Glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom of God the Father!
"Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The sinner cannot leave his sin without the initiative and grace of God.

"As I live, says the Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he turn back and live."  (Ezekiel 33: 11).

Today is Friday, in the first Week of Lent 2018, Day 10 of 40.

The sacred word today is heavy on the theme of metanoia.  Metanoia means conversion, a deep change of heart and a firm decision to return to God.  St Ignatius Loyola,  said that a sinner cannot leave his sin and return to God without the initiative and  grace of God.

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."  (Philippians 2: 13).

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years."  (Hebrews 3: 8 -  10).

Meribah was the desert place of testing, the combat zone between God and His people.  God tested the people to see if they had an obedient heart.   The people tried God by their obstinacy.  There ensued a battle of two strong wills.

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions."  (Psalm 51: 3).

“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

10 days gone already in Lent 2018!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

You are Christ the Son. You are Peter the Rock.

"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."  (Matthew 16: 18).

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St Peter.  Chair here means Cathedra, a symbol of Authority of Peter and his successors as supreme Pastor and Teacher of the Church.  Why does the Pope have this Authority?  Because it is the will and plan of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

Is the Pope a perfect man?
"But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  (Luke 22: 32 NLT).

What is the core responsibility of the Petrine Ministry?
"After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him."  (John 21: 15).

"Peter said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus replied: You are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church."  (Matthew 16: 16, 18).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The word of God came to Jonah a second time.

"The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”  (Jonah 3: 1 - 2)

The word came to me too a second time.  The Parable of the Sower reminds me of the time when the word of God came to me the first time.

"The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit."  (Matthew 13: 22).

In between the first and second call of Jonah, what happened?
Jonah underwent purification through hardship.  In the belly of the whale, he was thoroughly refined and dazzled by the illumination of divine truths.

Do you hear any call to serve God? Do not be afraid. Do not harden your heart.  To serve the Lord is to reign.  He who calls you is faithful.  He will anoint you, qualify you and equip you with all the wherewithal for the job.  All that is required of the sower is to scatter the seed.  How the seed grows is not his business. God takes care of the rest.

Monday, February 19, 2018

I believe that You are a Father to me at every moment of my life.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  (Matthew 6: 8).

Tuesday in the 1st Week of Lent, Day 7 of 40 of Lent 2018. Consider  these truths of the Christian faith:
+ God knows everything.
+ God is able
+ God is willing
+ God is your Father
+ The Father knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
Why does this matter?  Because eternal life is knowing the Father, the One true God and Jesus Christ His Only Son. (John 17: 3).

"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  (Hebrews 4: 16).

How about a little self-talk like this:
#1. I believe that You are a Father to me at every moment of my life, and that I am Your Child!
I believe that You love me with an infinite love!

#2.  I believe that You are watching over me night and day and that not a hair falls from my head without Your permission!

#3.  I believe that, in Your infinite Wisdom, You know better than I what is good for me.
I believe that, in Your infinite power, You can bring good even out of evil.

Abba Father, grant us through the discipline of Lent that we may learn to moderate our earthly desires and learn to love the things of heaven. Amen.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

You did it for them. In fact you were doing it for Me.

"Amen, I say to you:
Whatever you did for one of the least of my brethren,
you did it for me, says the Lord.
Come, you blessed of my Father,
receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."  (Matthew 25: 40, 34 RM).

These are some of the least of the brethren of Jesus:
+ Homeless
+ Hungry
+ Refugees
+ Imprisoned
+ Sick

The reward of ministering to them is huge.
"Come, you blessed of my Father,
receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."  (Matthew 25: 34).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”  (Leviticus 19: 18).

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13: 17)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The necessity of the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert.

"At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,  and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him."  (Mark 1: 12 - 13).

This is how Mark the Evangelist narrated the Temptation of Jesus. Pretty laconic but everything is there.  Let us examine the keywords and see how they apply to our Lenten Journey.

#1. The Spirit:  Note that the Spirit initiates the Temptation.  The word for temptation in Greek is scandalon which may apply to trials/tests or temptation to sin.  God never tempts anybody to commit sin. (James 1: 13)  But as a father trains and disciplines his children, so does Abba Father trains us.

#2  Desert:  The Place or period of temptation or tests.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation,  for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him."  (James 1: 12).

#3.   40 Days:  The classical period of trials in the Bible.  Moses, Elijah and Jesus endured 40 Days of trials. The early Church saw the mystical value of 40 Days and prescribed 40 days as the duration for the Lent.  The Lent is an early institution of the Church and is also a period when the Catechumens (those preparing to enter the Easter Church at Easter Vigil undergo their final scrutinies).

#4.  Satan:  Our mortal foe.
"Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death."  (James 1: 14 - 15).

What are these sins?
"For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world." (1 John 2: 16).

#5  Angel:  Your Guardian Angel accompanies you closely in life especially in the Lenten Journey.

May God grant us all the grace to make the best of this Lenten Journey.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Blessed are those who honor My Sabbath Day of rest.

"If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the Sabbath a delight,
the LORD’s holy day glorious;
If you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."  (Isaiah 58: 13 - 14).

The Sabbath/Sunday Rest is a very important institution in Judaism and Christianity.
The Sunday Rest is a rehearsal for eternal rest which if you think of it is the main promise of Salvation.
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"  (Matthew 16: 26).

"Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong."  (Isaiah 56: 2 NLT)

Sunday Rest comes once a week and reminds us of creation and the Resurrection of Jesus in a weekly rhythm that forces us to pause our hectic addiction to activity. 

He who keeps holy the Lord's Day is blessed in accordance with the promises. 

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work."  (Exodus 20:8-10 NLT)

"That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes]." (Exodus 20:11 AMP)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

See the fasting I approve.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”  (Isaiah 58: 3).

The people queried God and He answered them thus:
"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers.
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist!"  (Isaiah 58: 3 -  4).

The Lord knows everything, all things.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  (See Psalm 139: 1 - 18).  In short, on their fast days, they follow their own will and don't care for what God wants at all.

Now the Lord states the type of fast He approves:  
"Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?"  (Isaiah 58: 6 -  7).

Note that the Lord says:  "Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose."
This is the type of fast that brings transformation of life and huge blessings especially during the Season of Lent.  You start from God.  "Father, what would You have me do in Lent 2018?"  Your Lenten resolution is not written on concrete.  It is like an open book which you update constantly.

See the type of fasting I approve.

“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”  (Isaiah 58: 3).

The people queried God and He answered them thus:
"See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers.
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist!"  (Isaiah 58: 3 -  4).

The Lord knows everything, all things.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  (See Psalm 139: 1 - 18).

Now the Lord states the type of fast He approves:  
"Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?"  Isaiah 58: 6 -  7).

Note that the Lord says:  "Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose."
This is the type of fast that brings transformation of life and huge blessings especially during the Season of Lent.  You start from God.  "Father, what would You have me do in Lent 2018?"  Your Lenten resolution is not written on concrete.  It is like an open book which you update constantly.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Choose life and prosperity or death and doom.

"Moses said to the people: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy."  (Deuteronomy 30: 15 - 16).

We saw through the Last Will of David (1 Kings 2: 1 - 3) and Moses /Joshua (Joshua 1: 1, 7) that genuine and lasting prosperity and success in life tied in the Scriptures to obedience to God's Law.

Ben Sira the Teacher states:
“If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses, shall be given him.” (Sirach 15: 15 – 17)

Today is Day 2 of 40 of Lent 2018.
The choice facing each of us is stark clear:
Life and prosperity / Death and doom.
Life and blessings / Death and curse.
Fire / water.

Scripture stresses again and again that it is good to keep God’s commandments.

Joshua made a choice for himself and his family:
"If you decide that it's a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you'd rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you're now living. As for me and my family, we'll worship God." 
(Joshua 24:15 MSG).

Lent is the time to learn how to choose wisely. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

"Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,
and further them with your constant help, that all we do may always begin from you and by you be brought to completion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Season of spiritual renewal starts today.

"Yet even now—oracle of the Lord—
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment."  (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

Today is the first day of Lent, 1 of 40 days. A Season of grace and mercy. A Season of spiritual renewal. A Season of ask and receive. It is the Season when we join battle against spiritual evils in our lives, in the Church and in the world.  Welcome!

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."  (2 Corinthians 10: 4).

Lent is a period of spiritual combat.  The Lord has put in our disposal spiritual weapons to demolish strongholds of Satan. Use the weapons.

"Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens."  (Ephesians 6:  10 - 12).

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions."  (Psalm 51: 3).

“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Do you still not understand?

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.  (James 1: 16 - 17).

Consider all the desires of your heart:  happy family, good health, great job, financial independence, etc.   Where is the source of the desire?  St Augustine teaches that every good desire has its source in God.  St James the Apostle teaches that the desires are perfect gift from God our Father.  (James 1: 15 - 17). Only He can fulfill them.

Consider carefully the questions of Jesus for us as we start Lent 2018:

"Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember?..... “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8: 17 - 18, 21).

The great Season of Lent starts tomorrow Wednesday with Ash Wednesday.  You may experience dramatic change in your mind set by using the words below as self-talk.

"I let go of my desire for security."
"I let go of my desire for affection."
"I let go of my desire for control ."
"I let go of my desire to change the situation."
"I let go of my desire for perfect health."
"I let go of my desire for perfect family harmony."
"I let go of my desire for the perfect job."
"I surrender, I trust and I obey."
(Inspired from the book of Fr. Thomas Keating).

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13: 17)
Change happens not because of what you know but because of what you do daily.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Consider trials joyful opportunities

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  (James 1: 2 - 4).

How can you consider it a joyful thing when you are bombarded by trials in your marriage, health, finances and job?

You can do that I assure you. Have a little self-talk with yourself along this line and you will be pleasantly surprised.

"I walk by faith and not by sight or feelings. I declare by faith that God's word and promises which I trust is true.  Since my future and destiny is completely in the hands of God, nothing whatsoever can touch me unless Almighty God permits it.  If He permits it, it will be for my good and not misfortune."

Create your own self-taught if you wish. You can use a song if you are so inclined. But use it every day. Constantly in order to allow it to penetrate the heart. 

"Never stop speaking about this Instruction scroll. Recite it day and night so you can carefully obey everything written in it. Then you will accomplish your objectives and you will succeed." (Joshua 1: 8 CEB) 

I had suffered severe trials of one type or the other during Lent. It took some time before I recognized the pattern. The devil was scoring easy goals on my ignorance.  When I applied self-talk which I learned in the corporate world, I began winning.

Be resolved to make Lent 2018 your very best. Unleash the power of faith in your life and watch what will happen.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Yes, I will do it. Be made clean.

"A leper came to Jesus [and kneeling down] begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean."  (Mark 1: 40 - 42).

Many today need healing for their infirmities.  This leper approached Jesus with expectant faith and knelt before Jesus and asked for healing if it is in accordance with His will. 

Nothing is too marvelous for God to do for us.  (Cf Genesis 18: 14).  Since God has excellent plan for each and every one of us, since He knows exactly what we need and when we need it, can you trust His plan for your future?  He grants our prayers in accordance with His will and purpose for us. When our prayer is made with faith, it aligns us with God's will for our lives. 
"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  (Matthew 6: 10).
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."  (Luke 22: 42; Matthew 26: 39).  Jesus' perfect prayer is a model for all of us.

I believe in prayer.
I believe in the word of God.
I believe in in miracles.
I leave the rest to God.

The Christian is never afraid of God's will.  He knows that perfect love drives out all fear. (1 John 4: 18).   Are you still not sure of God’s perfect, unconditional love for you?
Don’t miss the opportunity that Lent 2018 starting on Ash Wednesday, February 14 provides.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Come and eat bread and be satisfied without money.

"They ate and were satisfied."  (Mark 8:  8).

Jesus fed 4000 people with seven loaves and a few fish. They all ate and were satisfied with plenty leftover. 

Only Christ the Bread of life who knows exactly what we need and when we need it can perform such a miracle.  Remember the Wedding Feast at Canna? (John 2: 2 - 5). The people drank the best wine until they could drink no more.

Jesus fulfilled admirably the prophecy in Isaiah 55: 1 - 3).

"All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
Come, buy grain without money,
wine and milk without cost!"  (Isaiah 55: 1).

The Miracle of the feeding of 4000 people prefigures the Eucharist.
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  (John 6: 51)

The Fathers of the Church sees the Eucharist as Food for the Journey. St Ignatius of Antioch, an early Church Father called the Eucharist the Medicine for Immortality.

Every single day, Jesus continues to feed millions of people with the finest wheat, the Bread of life.   (John 6 : 35;  Matthew 26: 26; 1 Corinthians 11: 24)

“It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God."  (Matthew 4: 4 AMP)

"He fed them with the finest wheat
and satisfied them with honey from the rock."  (Cf.  Psalm 81 (80): 17 RM)

Food and Medicine for the Journey.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Noon Confession on.  Holy Mass will start in 13 minutes.  Msgr Steve Churchwell will be celebrant. Expect a great homily.
The Eucharist is Food for the Journey towards our permanent residence.  Reconciliation is the Medicine for the Journey.  The road we traverse is a dangerous jungle full of poisonous reptiles and other wild beasts.

Thank Jesus for the Food and Medicine for the Journey.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jesus does everything well.

"They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”  (Mark 7: 37).

People who witnessed the healing of the deaf and mute man exclaimed that Jesus does everything well.
He heals all who were brought to Him.  He feeds everyone in His rallies.  He teaches with simplicity and authority.

The following Bible characters lived heroic lives and did all things well.

#1 Joseph the Prince of Egypt.
#2  Mary Mother of the Son.
#3  Joseph husband of Mary, the silent man.
#4  Stephen the first martyr, filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.

Although Jesus did all things well, He had nevertheless more than His fair share of enemies.  It is the same with each of the above Bible characters.  No surprise at all.
"My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials."  (Sirach 2: 1).

How can we do all things well like the elect?  Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit.  "I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.  But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law."  (Galatians 5: 16 - 18).

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Persistent Prayer is Confrontation with God.

"Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.  She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter."

Jesus at first refused to do it, setting up a battle royale between Himself and a woman.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Prayer is a battle.  Read the entire paragraph below and mark it very well.

"Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer."  (CCC 2725).

This Syrophoenician prayer warrior has practiced the battle of Prayer for a long time before her confrontation with Jesus.

Other battles of Prayer in the Bible:

#1.  Abraham praying to God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18: 16 - 33).

#2.  David praying that God spares his child of adultery with Bethsheba.  (2 Kings 12: 13 - 18).

#3.  The struggle of the persistent widow with the unjust judge. (Luke 18: 1 - 8).

St Augustine teaches that you can overcome God through persistent prayer.

“For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone."  (Mark 7: 29 - 30).

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

What is it that defiles a man or a woman?

“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.  From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.  All these evils come from within and they defile.”  (Mark 7: 20 - 23).

This is the word proclaimed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Supreme Teacher and Healer of mankind. What does the Doctor say about how to heal the evil heart?

#1. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  (Psalm 119: 11).

#2.  "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." (John 6: 27)
Jesus is talking here about His Body and Blood given to us the Night before He died.  The Fathers of the Church call this wonderful Gift, the Food for the Journey. Journey of Faith. Journey of Life.

#3. The Sacrament of Reconciliation:  This is the Medicine for the Journey. This takes care of all the spiritual sicknesses, snake bites, fractures that are inevitable during the Journey to our Homeland.

When your heart and mind are cleansed by Doctor Jesus then what comes out of you will be pure and life sustaining.

"The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; his tongue speaks what is right. God’s teaching is in his heart;
his steps do not falter."  (Psalm 37: 30 - 31).

Monday, February 05, 2018

Why do you promote human traditions?

“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”  (Mark 7: 5).

The Pharisees and the Scribes in their zeal for the law of Moses put human traditions on the same level as the word of God. Jesus said Not So.  But who determines what is the authentic word of God and human traditions?

"You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”   (Mark 7:  8).

We see today the crisis of obedience and authority and what Pope Benedict calls the "tyranny of relativism." 
Jesus cautions against making social traditions, government traditions, military traditions, family traditions, denominational traditions as the word of God.

This is why Jesus instituted authority in the Church to interpret authentic Tradition. Imagine what America will look like without the Supreme Court!

"You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”  (Mark 7: 13).

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Feast of St Agatha, the Virgin Martyr.

"The five wise virgins brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Then at midnight, the cry went up:
Behold the Bridegroom is coming;
come out to meet Christ the Lord."  (Matthew 25: 4, 6).

Today is the Feast of St Agatha, Virgin and Martyr.  Agatha died at the age of 20 in 251 AD under the persecution of Emperor Decius.
Along with Saints Agnes and Lucy, she is mentioned in the Roman Canon in Eucharistic Prayer 1.

Agatha is the patron saint for these causes and more:
Breast cancer, sterility, nurses, rape victims, single lay women and so on. (Source: Laudate App).

"May the Virgin Martyr Saint Agatha
implore your compassion for us, O Lord, we pray, for she found favor with you by the courage of her martyrdom and the merit of her chastity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."  Collect, Feast of St Agatha, February 2nd).

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases.

"That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons."  (Mark 1: 32 - 34).

After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Spirit drove Him into the desert where He prayed and fasted for 40 days.  During this period too, He underwent vigorous temptation from the devil.  (Matthew 4: 1 - 11).  Now He was ready to start His ministry.  He exercised His ministry in three areas.
#1.  He taught everyone who had ears to listen.
#2.  On some occasions, He fed everyone who attended His revival meetings.
#3.  When the sick and the demon possessed were brought to Him, the Gospels report that He healed many and cast out many demons.

What does the Catechism teach about illness?

"Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death."  (CCC 1500)

"Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him."  (CCC 1501).

The Church exercises her healing ministry through the Anointing of the Sick:
"By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ."  (CCC 1499).

Prayer for the sick:
"God our Father, your Son accepted our sufferings to teach us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brother/sister. May all who suffer pain, illness, or disease realize that they have been chosen to be saints and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."